Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches

Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches

I've wanted to make my own classic, summer treat for a while now, that is, an ice cream sandwich. A specimen I tried from an Ontario dairy while cottaging recently wasn't impressive: the chocolate chip cookies were too hard to bite into without the interior oozing out every time. As for a flavour, we've been enjoying iced coffees in the mornings made using a cold brew method. This weekend, I set out to make Vietnamese coffee ice cream sandwiches.

Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot provided the recipe for the ice cream. In the book's version, the condensed milk is stirred into the custard base after it comes off heat, and not added to the mixture to be heated in the saucepan. My one alteration was to use 8 egg yolks in total for a double batch: twelve seemed excessive. I ran out of cheesecloth, so I strained the heated ice cream base through two fine-meshed sieves. Depending on how coarse your coffee grounds are, you would be wise not to omit this step. I wasn't sure whether my ice cream maker could handle a double recipe so I erred on the side of caution and churned about ¾ of the overall mixture. I transferred the churned ice cream into two flat plastic containers and kept them in the freezer.

To make the cookies, I followed Cook's Illustrated's recipe for a flat, brownie-like cookie baked in a jellyroll pan. A key component of their recipe is chocolate syrup, due to the effect of the corn syrup on the batter, helping to make it more pliable and easier to spread. I found Alton Brown's cocoa syrup, and scaled it by one-sixth. The baked cookie-brownie was soft but didn't tear or break when I inverted it onto a cutting board to cool.

For assembly, I busted out my Cuisipro Scoop & Stack. This is a gift I received, and not a gadget that I would ever buy for myself, and one that I haven't found much use for, until now! Its 2" diameter cutter gave me 15 pairs of cookie rounds (the recipe's original yield is eight 3" cookies). I worked quickly to wrap each completed sandwich in wax paper and put them straightaway in the freezer, as this ice cream melts quickly.

This combination is a winner. The cookie is soft and chocolatey, the coffee flavour is very strong, and the size of these sandwiches is just right for a snack, or after-barbeque dessert.

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